ICE might be one of the biggest gambling conferences in the world, but it can’t stop evolving if it’s to stay at the top. Clarion Gaming’s Director of Industry Insight and Engagement Ewa Bakun joined CalvinAyre.com’s Becky Liggero to discuss their plans to make ICE a better value every year.
This year’s ICE London took on a much different format compared to past years. This has been a long time coming, but not for a lack of trying. “We have actually been trying to innovate and experiment with ICE’s conference format for quite a few years, and every year I think that the changes were barely visible, they were really cosmetic,” said Bakun. “Finally, we said, ‘You know what, we just really need to make a drastic change,’ and this is the only way to make people feel it, and to make people have a different experience.”
Clarion Gaming applied those changes by providing a better variety of attractions. “It’s not about sitting back in a conference room and just really taking in information,” Bakun notes, and goes on to describe some of the new attractions. “It’s about interaction, it’s about conversations, and that it’s about debating. There are a couple of formats that are more traditional like the boardroom, panel discussions, elevated stages for presentations, but with the hive, which is more a bar-style learning where we have experts hosting conversations, and breaking the barrier between the speakers and the attendees, and, of course, with the council where we have proposing provocative motions for people to debate, and actually for the audience to join those conversations.”
Now that they have a more innovative style developing, ICE is ready for their first North American conference, to be held in Boston, Massachusetts. “We’re really excited to finally be able to take the ICE brand outside of UK and outside of Europe,” says Bakun. “We’re going to learn from the experience here, as I said it’s not perfect, apply those learnings and hopefully offer a truly integrated learning and interactive experience that will include the buzz that you’re talking about.”
What will the first ICE conference in America look like? Bakun describes it:
“ICE of America will be a conference but will also have an expo floor attached to it. We’re going to try to recreate a similar experience with ICE Vox where it’s all about creating something new for our delegates and creating a bespoke space that can adapt to our content requirements rather than us having to adapt to the existing conference facilities. “